Fischer, Stepan connection leads Coyotes to win over Blue Jackets
The Arizona Coyotes picked up a much-needed 4-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday and were led by a one-two connection blossoming on the team’s second line.
With the season debut of Alex Galchenyuk, the forward moved to the first line alongside Lawson Crouse and Clayton Keller.
That’s a different look from the prior games this season when Keller was alongside Derek Stepan at center and either Crouse or Richard Panik on the other wing.
Now, Stepan joins Christian Fischer and Brendan Perlini on the second line, giving the team more depth on the top-six.
The early returns were there in Columbus for its production.
In the first period after the Blue Jackets scored in less than a minute, defensive pressure by Perlini forced a turnover and left Stepan and Fischer with a 2-on-1.
Stepan fed Fischer on the back door and the Coyotes tied the game up.
After Dylan Strome scored his second goal of the season later in the period, the connection between Stepan and Fischer produced again.
Once again, it was Perlini’s initial play that set up the goal. His simple drop-off pass cutting into the middle of the ice opened up space for Stepan and his perfect pass to Fischer in front of the net made it 3-1.
The multi-goal effort was the first of Fischer’s career. That, of course, meant he hasn’t had a hat trick in the NHL but that was no longer true after Tuesday night.
In transition, Fischer came screaming into a wide-open slot and was fed by Stepan once again. He rifled a shot past Blue Jackets keeper Sergei Bobrovsky for his third goal of the night.
Fischer bumped his goal total to a team-high four and Stepan’s three assists helped him recover from a slow start of only one point in the team’s first seven games.
It was a sorely-needed scoring effort from the Coyotes, who entered Tuesday’s action last in goals per game at 1.4 despite the fifth-best goals against at 2.4.
The Coyotes are off on Wednesday before returning to action on Thursday at home against the Vancouver Canucks. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. and you can listen on ESPN 620 AM.